Early Warning Signs of Dyscalculia
by Janice Rodden, ADDitude
October 26, 2018

Dyscalculia is a learning disability associated with mathematics that affects children long before they start learning arithmetic in school.

Though nearly as common as dyslexia, dyscalculia is neither well-known nor well-understood among educators and clinicians. So, many kids struggle for years before receiving a diagnosis.

The early warning signs in this video can help caregivers and teachers identify dyscalculia symptoms and provide support sooner.

Early Warning Signs of Dyscalculia
Dyscalculia is a learning disability associated with mathematics. Individuals with dyscalculia don’t process and represent numbers in a typical way.

Hallmark symptoms include difficulty with:

  • Number sense
  • Fact and calculation
  • Mathematical reasoning
  • Basic mathematical concepts

5-7% of students in the U.S. have this math-based learning disability. Still, it often goes undiagnosed until a child fails in school.

These early warning signs can help teachers and parents detect symptoms before any damage is done.

1. Using fingers to count
Kids with dyscalculia use “crutches” like these long after peers have stopped.

2. Persistent inability to memorize math facts
Poor working memory compromises the ability to calculate and remember solutions.

3. Inability to associate a number with a quantity
The meaning of numbers – the connection between a symbol or word and the quantity it represents – does not make sense.

4. Trouble understanding numerical expressions.
This can present as trouble understanding what counting means or difficulty learning and retaining multiplication tables.

5. Math anxiety
A child who can’t understand numbers might have an emotional reaction, like anxiety or stress.

If you recognize symptoms of dyscalculia in your child, consult an educational psychologist for an evaluation.

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